By Michelle Jones, Howard Club of SW Florida
In celebration of the completion of Black History Month, the Howard Club of Southwest Florida, Inc.’s Membership Committee highlighted a few notable Howard University Alumni. We are focusing on famous alumni in two categories:
1. Science, Medicine and Mathematics
2. Film and Television
Science, Medicine and Mathematics
Drs. Kenneth Bancroft Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark were psychologists who as a married team conducted research among children and were active in the Civil Rights Movement. Kenneth Clark was the first Black president of the American Psychological Association. The couple was known for their 1940s experiments using dolls to study children's attitudes about race. The Clarks testified as expert witnesses in Briggs v. Elliott, one of five cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education (1954).[ The Clarks' work contributed to the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in which it determined that de jure racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional. Some of the many awards received by Kenneth Clark include the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP, four freedom award in the category Freedom of Speech, Presidential Medal of Liberty, APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology. Molefi Kete Asante named Kenneth Clark on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. Columbia University Department of Psychology established the Mamie Phipps Clark and Kenneth B. Clark Distinguished Lecture Award to recognize "extraordinary contributions of a senior scholar in the area of race and justice.” Their daughter, Kate Harris, is a member of the Howard Club of Southwest Florida.
Dr. Patricia Bath, ophthalmologist, was the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention, She received five patents! Bath published the first scientific paper showing the higher prevalence of blindness among Blacks. She also found that African American people had eight times higher prevalence of glaucoma as a cause of blindness. Bath pioneered the worldwide discipline of "community ophthalmology”, described as a new discipline in medicine promoting eye health and blindness prevention through programs utilizing methodologies of public health, community medicine and ophthalmology to bring necessary eye care to under-served populations. She developed medical devices that improve on the use of lasers to remove cataracts and for removing cataract lenses.
Melba Roy Mouton served as Assistant Chief of Research Programs at NASA's Trajectory and Geodynamics Division in the 1960s and headed a group of NASA mathematicians called “computers”. The following year, Echo 1 was put into orbit, and Mouton lead a team of NASA mathematicians in tracking its orbit. She was prominently featured alongside some of her African American colleagues in an advertisement to spotlight NASA's diversity. Mouton received both an Apollo Achievement Award and an Exceptional Performance Award from NASA before she retired.
Film and Television
Chadwick Boseman was an actor and playwright. He won a Drama League Directing Fellowship and an acting AUDELCO, and nominated for a Jeff Award as a playwright for Deep Azure. Transitioning to the screen, he landed his first major role as a series regular on Persons Unknown, and his breakthrough performance as baseball player Jackie Robinson in the biographical films portray historical figures include 42, James Brown in Get on Up, and as lawyer and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. Boseman achieved international fame for playing the superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). He appeared in four MCU films, including a film that earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. As the first black actor to headline an MCU film, he was also named in the 2018 Time 100. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer. His final film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, was released posthumously the same year to critical acclaim, earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. Boseman also received four nominations at the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards for his work in Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the most for a performer at a single ceremony, winning Male Actor in a Leading Role for Ma Rainey.
Bradford Young a cinematographer, has film credits for Mississippi Damned, Pariah, Restless City, Middle of Nowhere, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, and Mother of George. He won numerous awards including the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival twice and won for his work on Pariah. He won for his work on both Mother of George and Ain't Them Bodies Saints. He was the cinematographer for Selma, which won the BET Award for Best Movie, and was inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). Young became the first African-American cinematographer to be nominated for an Academy Award, for his work on Arrival. This work also earned him a Silver Frog award from Camerimage and nominations for BAFTA and American Society of Cinematographers awards. Young was the cinematographer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Young re-teamed with director Ava DuVernay on the Netflix drama miniseries When They See Us, based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case, which earned critical acclaim. Also, Young has collaborated with a number of directors and has filmed music videos for several artists for short films and commercials. He has also collaborated with artists on video installations that have been displayed in fine art museums around the world.
Howard Club of Southwest Florida, Inc.’s Membership Committee “In Celebration of Black History Month” series.